What marketing should I be doing to get people to notice my site? Are there other things I should be doing to help promote it also?
Apart from the basics like SEO, PPC and Email, have you considered using Affiliates? Try Linkshare (linkshare.co.uk). Other ways of generating traffic are through Facebook and Twitter. People are spending more time on social networking sites than any other sites on the web so make sure your brand is visible on these networks. And most importantly, if you have an offline store, you should be using this to its maximum potential ensuring you are capturing people’s email addresses as they buy, and make sure your web address is at all the touch points.
We certainly hear this sort of question a lot and there are some great tips from Jane below. However I would strongly advise you to also look at ways of embracing social media to drive traffic to your site. Social media is a very efficient and cost effective way to tie various elements of your online marketing strategy together. For example find an email provider that will allow your email recipients to share campaigns across social networks like Facebook and Twitter. This is an excellent way of making your campaigns go viral and of growing your database with quality prospects who are interested in your brand/products. One recipient can quickly share your campaign with all of their friends who are politely encouraged so sign up themselves, simple!
Paid search is essential but echo Jane’s comments that if you are offering a large range of products it’s best to get the experts in. Don’t ignore SEO either as we see a lot of brands doing. A lot of online stores have failed as they spend so much time on design and content thinking “build it and they will come” – it never works. Finding the right budget balance between paid search, SEO and email marketing is tricky but the rewards can be huge.
Driving quality traffic to website is one of the most discussed areas I have come across in all my years within Ecommerce. It’s so frustrating when you have a great site, great products but no-one really knows about it. However there are a few quick wins you could look at which should shown an improvement in traffic, whilst you put a plan in place to achieve more longer term traffic growth.
Here’s my checklist for traffic drivers:
Customer Touch Points – Is your URL promoted on store POS, carrier bags, product receipts, gift cards, bag stuffers, swing tickets, promotional flyers etc is there a board behind the till with your URL on it etc? Think about your in-store footfall, if 20% of these customers who didn’t know you had a transactional site, decided to go to your website what would that add to your traffic numbers? Constant re-enforcement in-store is key and you should make sure your staff talk about the fact that you have a transactional website- don’t give your customer the opportunity to shop elsewhere if your stores don’t have the right size in stock.
Other areas you should be using to drive traffic to your site is:
Paid Search Marketing- Most customers use a search engine when they are looking for product. By bidding on those keywords which you believe customers will use when they are searching for products like yours, will put your brand in front of relevant customers. Provided that you manage this area closely, don’t pay too much for your keywords and have relevant ad copy that links customers to the area in your site that are relevant to that search, you should start to see quality traffic which converts well, coming to your site. PPC marketing can get quite complex if you have a large range, so my advice is to call in some PPC specialist support who can structure and manage your campaigns to generate the best returns for your budget. Remember that your medium term plan should always be to get high natural listings in the search engines too, so make sure that your site is optimised to help you achieve good page rankings too- overall it’s a more cost effective route to customer acquisition.
Affiliate Marketing, again if managed well, can be a great way to drive traffic and revenues. Basically Affiliates promote your brand and products on their site and only earn commission when they have generated a net sale for you. Affiliates can increase brand awareness and reach is a great way to ensure your brand and product get in front of as many customers as possible. Affiliates taps into a large pool of searching customers who are in the market to buy, so with the right planning to ensure you have affiliates that do not only drive sales when there is a discount attached, can help you achieve a good brand awareness and generate good levels of traffic and revenues.
Finally, grow your database! Make sure that your site has a well positioned email sign up are as customers who sign up to your newsletters want to hear about your products. As such, emails which are well designed and as importantly, well merchandising, do generate strong conversion and revenue and the use of viral campaigns within your email calendar is a great way to grow the size of your database and generate new traffic to your site.